The grand opening of UCI’s groundbreaking eSports arena in September drew 1,500 gaming enthusiasts. Steve Zylius / UCI

By the numbers: 1.1 billion reasons to feel good about 2016

It was a year of firsts … and a year of records

As the University of California, Irvine ended its 50th anniversary celebration and entered its second half-century, 2016 brought other important milestones: An aggressive new strategic plan. Record amounts of research and philanthropic funding. The most-ever freshman and transfer applications. The first eSports arena at a public college. As always, it was a good year to be an Anteater.

  1. alt placeholder UCI astronomer Aaron Barth and colleagues used data from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile to determine the mass of a supermassive black hole at the heart of galaxy NGC 1332 to be 660 million times greater than that of the sun. ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); Hubble Space Telescope (NASA/ESA); Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey
  2. alt placeholder In preparation for the Los Angeles Rams' summer training camp, 230,000 square feet of Bermuda grass was installed on UCI's Microsemi Field. Steve Zylius / UCI
  3. alt placeholder In testing, chemistry graduate student Mya Le Thai cycled a specially coated gold nanowire battery electrode she developed 200,000 times. Typical lithium-ion batteries can be cycled only around 7,000 times. Steve Zylius / UCI
  4. alt placeholder The Anteatery food court in the Mesa Court Towers housing complex - new for 2016-17 - fed 6,000 students on opening day. Steve Zylius / UCI
  5. alt placeholder The grand opening of UCI’s groundbreaking eSports arena in September drew 1,500 gaming enthusiasts. Steve Zylius / UCI
  6. alt placeholder In November, The Irvine Museum donated to UCI its $17 million, 1,200-piece collection of California impressionist art, including “California Landscape With Flowers” (shown), painted by Granville Redmond around 1925.
  7. alt placeholder The three new, six-story Mesa Court Towers, UCI's first high-rise dorms, are reserved for freshmen and provide 935 beds. Steve Zylius / UCI
  8. alt placeholder About 700 Anteaters took advantage of early voting Nov. 1 near the flagpoles. Steve Zylius / UCI
  9. alt placeholder Students ride stationary bikes to power the UCI sign during an Earth Week event in April. For seven years in a row, UCI has made the top 10 in Sierra magazine's ranking of "Cool Schools." Steve Zylius / UCI
  10. alt placeholder Incoming freshmen and transferees attend UCI's New Student Convocation in September. The mean grade-point average of California residents admitted for fall 2016 was 4.10, the highest ever. Steve Zylius / UCI
  11. alt placeholder Two pedestrian bridges opened on campus this past year: one connecting Mesa Court to the UCI Student Center (shown) and the other linking the new Anteater Learning Plaza with the main campus loop. Steve Zylius / UCI

Here are the highlights in numbers.

660 million Times larger than the mass of the sun – the measurement of the mass of a black hole determined by UCI astronomer Aaron Barth using the ALMA observatory in Chile
 395 million Research funding in dollars (record)
 132.5 million Philanthropic support in dollars (record)
 230,000 Square feet of Bermuda grass planted on Microsemi Field for the Rams’ preseason training camp
 200,000 Times that chemistry graduate student Mya Le Thai cycled a specially coated gold nanowire battery electrode; current lithium-ion batteries can be cycled only around 7,000 times
 98,000 Freshman and transfer student applications to UCI (record)
 75,000 Square feet in the new Anteater Learning Pavilion
 50,000 Hours of community service completed by UCI volunteers as part of the “Fifty for 50” campus challenge
 20,521 California-resident Chicano/Latino freshman applicants (most in UC system)
 8,000 Pounds of trash recycled each day
 6,000 Students fed on opening day of the Anteatery, the food court in the new Mesa Court Towers housing complex
 2,000 Peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches made by UCI students for local soup kitchens during Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week
 1,500 People – some in elaborate costumes – who mobbed the grand opening of the eSports arena, the first of its kind at a public college
 1,200 Pieces of California impressionist art donated by the Irvine family to UCI
 935 Beds in the three new, six-story Mesa Court Towers dorms
 700 Anteaters who participated in an early voting opportunity at the flagpoles Nov. 1
 100 Orange County K-12 educators who will receive training in teaching computer science by the year 2020 through UCI’s CS1C@OC program
 7 Consecutive years UCI has made the top 10 of Sierra magazine’s “Cool Schools” (only university to do so)
 4.10 Mean grade-point average of new class of California residents admitted to UCI (highest ever)
 2 New pedestrian bridges opened, one connecting Mesa Court to the UCI Student Center and the other linking the Division of Continuing Education building with the main campus loop
 1 New strategic plan, unveiled in February
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